The Tax Collection Pendulum

They say that clothing fashions tend to repeat themselves over time.  My 20-year-old Metallica T-shirt?  Retro.  Grandma’s 70-year-old dress? Vintage.

Much like the inner-workings of the IRS, right?  Yeah, sort of.  Anyone who has worked in the tax relief industry long enough has seen IRS collection efforts intensify and diminish in repeating cycles over the years.  Well, some believe that the IRS audit pendulum is tipped one way or another depending on the political party of the president.  And I think it’s safe to say that more audits means more revenue collected.

According to the 2005 dissertation by Valentin Estévez at the University of Chicago:

  • Under Democratic presidencies the audit rate of income tax returns is higher than under Republican presidencies even after the inclusion of various political and economic controls.
  • But, during Democratic presidencies the I.R.S. tends to audit fewer individual returns and more corporate returns than during Republican presidencies.

Casey Mulligan, New York Times blogger, agrees.  In fact, he claims that IRS statistics released since 2005 have further supported Estévez’ position.  See full story here.